Faith in Christ leads to action
The atonement was intended by God to cover all human sin, and thus salvation is possible for everyone who has faith in Jesus Christ and trusts in what He has done. The atonement is one of the biblical themes demonstrating God’s initiative to restore lost humanity to right relationship with Him. Thus, the atonement creates the potential for everyone to receive the benefits of Christ’s work on the cross and His resurrection. “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2 NIV).
The potential benefits of atonement become effective when a person cones to faith in Jesus Christ. “Every saved person receives the benefits of the Atonement . . . . These benefits include Christ’s substitution for sin (Isa. 53:4-6; 2 Cor. 5:21), propitiation (Rom. 3:24-25; 1 John 2:1-2), redemption (Mark 10:45; Acts 20:28), justification (Rom. 3:24-28; Titus 3:5-7), and reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18; 1 Pet. 3:18).” In addition, the atonement is the basis for certain benefits, even for those who are nonbelievers, according to God’s purposes. These “include (a) payment of the penalty for all of the sins of every person who has ever lived, (b) provision of common grace, (c) the reconciliation of all things to Himself, (d) the securing of a genuine offer of salvation to everyone everywhere, and (e) the provision of an additional basis for condemnation.” Thus, the benefits of the atonement are indeed many and affect everyone.
Various Views of the Atonement
There are various views, models, and theories of the atonement. This, in turn, has resulted in a variety of views about salvation. “The variety of views [of salvation], of course, stems from the variety of words and ideas contained in the Bible with regard to the atonement.
 Gary L. Shultz Jr., “God’s Purposes in the Atonement for the Nonelect” Bibliotheca Sacra 165 (2008): 146.
 Shultz refers to the nonelect, not in the Calvinist interpretation of those predestined to reprobation, but as those human beings who would never receive salvation. This more general reference could be either Calvinist or Arminian. Thus, except for the fifth purpose in the list, these purposes of the atonement could apply to everyone.
 Shultz, “God’s Purposes,” 147.
2Co 5:18-19 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
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